Blockchain Refresh: Why KPMG’s New Strategy Focuses on Customs

KPMG has decided to “refresh” its distributed ledger technology (DLT) strategy, according to new U.S. blockchain lead Arun Ghosh, who took over the group in September. Revealed exclusively to CoinDesk, the Big Four consultancy has taken to expanding its blockchain activities beyond the pure financial services work it had been doing, to explore a less-traveled path. Specifically, KPMG is homing in on the point where cross-border manufacturing and supply chain meet finance, customs duty, taxation and compliance. This is different than the usual supply chain use case, Ghosh said. He…

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Ex-Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn Joins Blockchain Startup

The blockchain space became a little stronger today as former Goldman Sachs president Gary Cohn announced that he had joined the advisory board of distributed ledger technology (DLT) startup Spring Labs. Former Trump Advisor Joins Blockchain Startup In addition to his former position at Goldman Sachs, Cohn also worked in the White House as President Trump‘s top economic aides. Cohn left his position as director of the National Economic Council back in March of this year when he could not agree to President Trump’s steel and aluminum tariff plans. Fintech startup Spring…

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Microsoft Is Pushing New Blockchain ID Products (But There’s Pushback, Too)

Microsoft is moving to turn blockchain-based decentralized identity from a lofty aspiration into a business line. In a white paper posted this week, the software giant says it intends to develop two products designed to give consumers greater control of their personal data – long the Holy Grail of many technologists in the blockchain space and adjacent industries. One such product is an encrypted personal data store, or “identity hub,” which is a combination of user’s personal devices and cloud storage that Microsoft would offer through Azure, its cloud computing service.…

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Nevada’s Utilities Agency Eyes Blockchain for Energy Credit System

The Public Utilities Commission of Nevada, a government agency charged with supervising and regulating power utility services in the state, is looking to implement blockchain for its energy credit tracking system. The commission last month investigated whether a blockchain-based solution would help track and certify Portfolio Energy Credits (PECs) in a better way for meeting the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard. Renewable energy producers in Nevada earn PECs that can be sold to utilities that then use them to comply with the Standard. One PEC represents one kilowatt-hour of electricity generated.…

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Crypto Startup Pundi X Says That it Made the ‘First Blockchain Phone Call’

Having launched a crypto-based Point-of-Sale (POS) device earlier this year with the goal of making cryptocurrency payments easier on the go, Pundi X now claims to have made the first blockchain phone call, according to a recent Medium post by the company co-founder Pitt Huang. The call was made on the startup’s newest device, called the XPhone, at the ongoing XBlockchain Summit two-day event at the Inaya Putri, Bali. The XPhone is a blockchain phone that doesn’t use any centralized mobile carrier to function. It works on the Function X…

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BMW-Backed Blockchain Competition Offers Token Prizes for Auto Tech

The Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI) has launched a development “tournament” to explore how vehicles will communicate, co-operate and transact in the smart cities of the near-future. The 4-month MOBI Grand Challenge kicks off on October 12, with a public demonstration of winning technologies to be hosted by BMW Group in Munich, Germany on next February. The prizes come in the form of blockchain tokens, which will drive next-generation mobility and data sharing: Ocean Protocol, a blockchain enabled data exchange protocol, has committed $1 million worth of token prize; and…

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Blockchain Finance Startup Clearmatics Raises $12 Million in New Funding

Blockchain finance firm Clearmatics Technologies has raised over $12 million in a Series A funding round led by venture capital firm Route 66 Ventures. Additional investment in the funding round came from private equity firm TNF Capital and XTX Ventures, the venture capital arm of electronic market-making firm XTX Markets. As part of the arrangement, Samir Khosla, a managing partner at TNF Capital, will join Clearmatics’ board of directors. Khosla said his company was pleased to deepen its commitment to Clearmatics and praised “its exceptional team under the leadership of Robert…

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UK Telecom Regulator Receives £700,000 Blockchain Grant for Managing Phone Numbers

UK national telecoms regulator Ofcom has received £700,000 ($912,000) to explore blockchain solutions in UK landline telephone management. The grant was issued by the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy. An Ofcom announcement states that between now and April 2020, industry participants will be invited “to trial the porting and management of millions of telephone numbers using blockchain and ledger technology” in an initiative involving industry and university providers as well as third-party providers. Blockchain technology will allow trusted transactions (AKA ‘consumer porting’ in this case) to “manage the…

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Jack Ma Pays Attention to Blockchain & Bitcoin to Create Cashless Society

Jack Ma, the chairman of Alibaba and $150 billion China-based financial conglomerate Ant Financial, has said in a recent speech that he pays special attention to Bitcoin and blockchain technology, and the potential of establishing a cashless society. Although Ma is still studying the fundamental value Bitcoin and other major cryptocurrencies bring to the market, he emphasized that blockchain technology as a whole is a powerful innovation that could enable a completely cashless society. China is Already Nearly Cashless Only a very small portion of the population in China uses…

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Australia Trials Citizen Disability Insurance Payments on a Blockchain

The Australian federal government is testing a blockchain application to explore the use of blockchain technology to create ‘smart money’ for the country’s National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Dubbed “Making Money Smart”, the trial is jointly developed by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) – Australia’s federal science agency – and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), one of the domestic ‘big four’ retail banks. The proof-of-concept trial will use smart contracts to create ‘smart money’ or ‘programmable money’ as blockchain tokens to the country’s disability insurance program,…

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